Car Bomb Kills Iraqi Children Near Convoy At least 25 people, many of them children, are killed and 25 more wounded by a suicide car bomb near a patrol where U.S. forces were handing out sweets in Baghdad. The incident has sparked anger, with U.S. troops blamed for attracting kids by handing out candy.
NPR logo

Car Bomb Kills Iraqi Children Near Convoy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4752463/4752464" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Car Bomb Kills Iraqi Children Near Convoy

Car Bomb Kills Iraqi Children Near Convoy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4752463/4752464" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

On any given day there are bombings and shootings in Iraq, and all are lamentable, but there was an attack today in Baghdad that was especially tragic. American forces were conducting searches in a neighborhood in Baghdad this morning. A crowd of people, many of them children, had gathered around them. Soldiers, witnesses say, were handing out candy. A suicide bomber pulled his truck alongside and detonated it. At least 27 people were killed, including an American soldier and a number of children. From Baghdad, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO reporting:

Tiny plastic sandals lie in a pile beside the crater that the car bomb left.

(Soundbite of items being swept up)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: A few feet away Ahmed Karim(ph) sweeps up broken glass and dirt from his home. He has a bandage around his head, and he's spotted with blood. His sister and his younger brother are in the hospital. His house is pockmarked with pieces of shrapnel and black with soot.

Mr. AHMED KARIM (Eyewitness): (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says, `I was sitting in the living room when all of a sudden everything turned dark and dusty. The force of the explosion threw my head against the wall.' When he opened his eyes and went outside, he saw carnage. He points to different areas on the street.

Mr. KARIM: (Foreign language spoken)

Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

Mr. KARIM: (Foreign language spoken)

Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

Mr. KARIM: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: `I cannot describe what I saw,' he says. `Here there was a child with half his head missing. Up there, a female child hung. In our upstairs room, there was a human brain. They just disposed of it.'

According to witnesses and the US military, a group of American soldiers in armored vehicles had cordoned off this area in New Baghdad, where many poor Shia live. They were searching vehicles, looking for explosives. Witnesses say that as many as 50 people, many of them children, were crowded around the Americans. According to those in the area, the soldiers had been handing out candy. At 10:50 AM local time, the car bomber drove up and detonated his explosives-laden truck. Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Farrell was also there. He is the battalion commander of the 1-64 Armored, a tank infantry battalion with the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Lieutenant Colonel KEVIN FARRELL (1-64 Armored): As you can imagine, there was confusion; many, many wounded people on the ground, some dying, many dead already. The force of the blast is such that limbs are torn off and significant trauma--people blown against walls. The four houses in the immediate area, their walls had been blown over. Fires started in a number of locations, even causing secondary explosions from propane tanks, that type of thing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: One soldier was among those killed. The military evacuated three children to their base for treatment. One later died.

Lt. Col. FARRELL: Perhaps the thought was he could kill some Americans in the process. But coming from the direction that he did, he was confronted with a crowd of civilians outside our perimeter.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The bomber detonated anyway, slaughtering the Iraqis. One of the men who lives on the street rails at the insurgents.

Unidentified Man #2: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: `Why did the bomber target the Americans here,' he says, `and not in another alley or in the square?' he asks. `Why did the suicide bomber choose to attack them here, as they were distributing candy with children?'

(Soundbite of crowd noise)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: As the hours pass, the anger and sorrow grows. The dead come back from the morgue. They're placed into coffins and mounted on the roof of trucks. Women with billowing black veils cry and scream in unbearable anguish.

Unidentified Woman: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: One woman shouts, `By God, it is the Americans who are blowing us up. All that is left of those children is burnt flesh.' A man tries to quiet her, but she's inconsolable.

Watching the scene is a group of small boys. They talk about what they saw after the bombing. `We saw a hand,' one says; `children's hair and scattered bicycles' says another, `a piece of flesh.' Among them is a small boy who is trying unsuccessfully not to cry. He's only 12.

Unidentified Child: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: `Of course I cry,' he says. `Those who were killed were our brothers. Those little ones, what did they do to be killed?' Behind them, the cars pull out carrying four of the dead away for burial. Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Baghdad.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.